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22                    HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
Spain the women are partially secluded, and perhaps
wisely.
We come to slavery. In Persia, at any rate, slaves are
kept only as domestic" servants, and are particularly ^ell
treated, being with reason trusted more than hired servants.
Can we, with a recollection of Hawkins, who bought
negroes in Africa to sell in America, throw stones at
slavery among Moslems ? I think not. Freedom of
thought and private judgment are gradually asserting
themselves among Moslems, just as among Roman
Catholics, however much the mu/las in the one case
or the Pope in the other may deny these privileges*
Moreover, until quite modern times it has been the
general custom of man to persecute those from whom he
differed on religious grounds, and the Moslems certainly
have not treated Christians more harshly than the inquisi-
tors did. Toleration is, in fact, a sentiment of recent
growth.
If the lives of great men are studied, imperfections
are invariably revealed, and in many cases the greater the
man the more conspicuous the faults. Personally I hold
that Mohamed was, with all his human frailties, one of
the greatest of mankind; that he was impelled by the
highest motives to beat down idolatry and fill its place
with the much higher conception of Islam, and that by so
doing he rendered an immense service to the human race,
a service to which I pay homage.
The Koran.—The scriptures of Islam, known as the
Koran,1 consist exclusively of the revelations which
Mohamed claimed to receive through Gabriel as messages
direct from God. These messages were received through-
out the twenty-three years of his prophetical life, and were
recited by Mohamed before his followers and committed
both to memory and to writing. In the stage of culture
which prevailed at that period in Arabia writing was a
rare accomplishment, and the general belief is that the
Prophet himself could neither read nor write ; memory
was therefore much stronger thancamong civilized races,
1 Koran signifies "reading aloud,"   The syllable Al which ie occasionally prefixed
is the Arabic for the definite article.